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Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer

Henry Weinhard’s was recently recommended by a fan of the blog. I’m pretty excited when someone else recommends me a root beer, especially if they’re a fan of my work. If I can get my hands on it, especially during this pandemic, I’ll try and review it.

Honestly I’ve seen Henry Weinhard’s around for years, but because they only come in a six pack, and since no one has ever mentioned it to me before, I’ve been apprehensive to give it a try. Since it’s hard to find really good root beer in my experience, I am more prone to one-offs than packs. That way I don’t waste a bunch when I find another thing I dislike. What does one usually do with three-to-five brews they don’t care for? There’s only so much you can give away before people run for the hills!

Gourmet Draught Style “Flip My Lid” Head

Henry Weinhard’s looks like your standard traditional root beer. Brown label, orange accents, old-timey pictures of barrels, and a portrait of a man I suspect is the myth, the legend, Henry Weinhard himself. The lid is a little provocative, with the supposed Mr. Weinhard asking you directly to “flip my lid.” Okay Henry, I’m game.


The Henry Weinhard and Blitz-Weinhard site is packed full of trivia about Henry, and his story. Weinhard came from Germany to make alcoholic beer, but after his death and during prohibition, the brewery began producing pop, syrup, and non-alcoholic beer. It appears the business is focused on traditional alcoholic-based drinks, so I’m apprehensive to assume that Weinhard’s is going to be putting all of their effort into their root beer. That being said, if they’re using the same recipe handed down through the ages, maybe it will be a glimpse into their true glory days. We’ll find out shortly.


A gourmet soda, hand-crafted with natural and artificial flavors including sassafras, vanilla and honey.

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sucrose
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness)
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Caramel Color

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make the pre-tasting assumption that Henry Weinhard’s isn’t using a century-old recipe. I appreciate that on their label they mention that sassafras, vanilla, and honey are used, but we all know natural and artificial flavors is a cop-out and I’m not into that. Nevertheless, this is better than most other root beers I’ve reviewed. I’m not going into this disappointed, yet.

Henry Weinhard's Ingredient List

The following edit was placed on 06/12/2022 in response to a comment:

Sucrose is the scientific name for table sugar, and it appears recently Henry Weinhard’s may have changed their ingredient list to identify it as cane sugar. I’ve included an image of my ingredient list in the interest of transparency and full disclosure.


The initial smell after flipping Henry Weinhard’s lid is definitively traditional, but somewhat weak. The taste matches that, which isn’t terribly impressive. There’s definitely that traditional bitterness behind the initial sweetness, but there’s also a strange flavor that I’ve only previously identified with sugar alternatives. I believe I can make out the vanilla and honey, but despite having so much sugar in it, it’s not a particularly sweet brew.

The carbonation, like the flavor and smell, is also weak—which I usually appreciate. In this case, it feels like I’m drinking thin root beer syrup. That’s not the most appetizing statement. Speaking of, Henry Weinhard’s really coats the mouth, but a swish of water quickly solves that problem.

Over time, the bitterness becomes very apparent, while the carbonation dissipates further. There’s very little after taste, but it has staying power due to the stickiness of the root beer. Since I don’t particularly enjoy bitter root beers, it’s probably harder for me to detect the sweetness through the bitterness. It’s still there, but it’s very subtle.

I think this brew would benefit from an open glass and ice cubes, because while it is much better cold than it is after it has time to warm up, I have a feeling it would be better permanently ice cold and the water dilution might help with the stickiness.


Henry Weinhard’s is a run-of-the-mill traditional root beer without any particularly exciting qualities, but it’s not really disappointing. I wouldn’t consider it a major step-up from traditional mass-produced canned root beers. It’s definitely around the same level, but just getting out of that tier. The bitterness is intense, and I think if you like bitter root beers with some sweetness behind that taste, then Henry Weinhard’s is worth a try. Without the sweetness though, it would be disastrous.

Rating: ♛♛♛♕♕ – 3/5


  1. Linda Gerhard Linda Gerhard

    Whoa hold on a minute. Your ingredients do not match my bottle of Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer. Were you drinking a bottle of diet soda? Sucrose will kill any drink and I can taste it a mile away. I searched and could not even find a diet version to exist. Did you accidentally copy the wrong ingredients off another brand you tried near the same day?

    Carbonated Water
    Cane Sugar
    Natural and Artificial Flavor
    Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness)
    Phosphoric Acid
    Caramel Color

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hi Linda,

      I luckily had two bottles left that I had not yet consumed. I’ve included a picture of the ingredient list in the original review. Sucrose is another name for sugar, so it’s definitely not diet. I believe you might be thinking of sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Linda Gerhard Linda Gerhard

    Awh yes, you are correct I was thinking sucralose. I even wrote it at first and then compared to your spelling and kept thinking, “I thought there was an ‘L’ in there.”
    Of course, thank you for responding, Sucrose is just sugar. I must take a peak at new bottles at the store since I bought mine last month.
    I do not have time to look through your list entirely, can you give me any 4-5 ratings choices you made so I may also continue my search for great rootbeers. I saw your review of Virgils and now I must go back and try it again. It has been a few years, but I do remember thinking it was pretty good. I’ll comment there after I do. I am suspecting that you and I rate them differently do to possibly your preference for more sweetness and less for me. I have one last can of Hansens and will do a contrast with my family, on same day of Henry Weinhards, Virgils and Hansens, We have a deli in our area that imports a ton of different brands of bottled soda (maybe some that got your higher rating, but I fear some may be past their expiration date, but I will see if any of your top choices are carried there.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hi Linda,

      You’re in luck! I have a tag system that lets readers look at reviews based on rating. If you click here you can read all of my 4/5 rated root beer reviews. I haven’t encountered any 5/5 yet! If you use the search feature in the upper right-hand corner, you can probably search for “bitter” which would be a good keyword to try and find less sweet root beers. Also, when you try Virgil’s again, a few readers have told me that the quality has changed significantly in the past few years. I’ve made an adjustment to my review to note that, and will be re-reviewing it later this year to see if it really has changed for my taste buds. Honestly I’m surprised I’ve been able to review so many root beers over the years, because it’s actually really difficult to get stable sources on some of the more “indie” brands. I’ve had to purchase them online and ship them in before just to try. Good luck with the deli!

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